Editorial: Sudden Appearance Syndrome
Sudden and inexplicable gemstone sources emerge after someone else has done the hard work.
We call it: Sudden Appearance Syndrome. It’s a fast-growing ailment in the colored gemstone industry in which sudden and inexplicable resources of a gemstone are discovered, that just happen to coincide with a counterpart gemstone’s marketing success in another part of the world where the other gemstone has been mined for years.
Take for example: Oregon Sunstone -v- Tibet Andesine. The Oregon Sunstone market took several decades to establish, grow and become financiallly viable. Just as Oregon Sunstone was finding a niche in the market and becoming profitable for the Oregon miners, Richard W. Hughes and Jewelry Television, with the help of the GIA, suddenly and inexplicably make the miraculous discovery of copper bearing feldspar in an extremely remote location in Tibet.
Perhaps even more astounding about this case of Sudden Appearance Syndrome is in 2006, Colored Stone Magazine reporter Jordan Clary, visited the region where the Tibet mines were claimed to be located, and could not find a single person who had ever heard of Tibet andesine or a mine that produced it. Quoting her 2008 article in Colored Stone Magazine:
“We traveled through Sichuan and Qinghai Provinces, along the Tibetan border, into Gansu Province, and north to Xingjian, talking to everyone we met along the way: shop keepers, street merchants, jewelers, geologists, hikers. They came from all over Tibet and China and none had ever heard of the sunstone or knew about a mine. We crossed into Mongolia and were shown human skulls elaborately carved into prayer bowls, rare jade and plenty of dzi beads. But no one knew anything about a mine or a dazzling new gemstone that was coming out of the region.
Back in the USA
When I returned to the U.S., I found Tibetan sunstone being advertised on both television and the internet. How could a gemstone make such a splash over here while the people who lived in the region it supposedly came from had never heard of it?” Jordan Clary, Colored Stone Magazine, November/December 2008
The result of her 2006 travels throughout the region, talking to many people from many walks of life revealed not one person who had ever heard of a Tibet andesine gemstone or mine. You can read the 2008 article here: Sunstone Hunting in Tibet.
Then, suddenly in 2008, an expedition paid for by Jewelry Television and headed up by famous gemologists Richard W. Hughes, who we understand was paid by JTV to document the mine, suddenly and inexplicably reported not only on the mine location, but additionally a widespread use of Tibet andesine for jewelry and ornaments by locals all over the region. Within just 2 years the situation went from: 1. Not a soul in the region had ever heard of an andesine mine nor seen or heard of the gemstone, to 2. Tibet andesine was ubiquitous and everyone in the region was reported to be wearing Tibet andesine. Crazy as this sounds, that is what the Hughes expedition reports wanted everyone to believe, with the support of the GIA.
It was no surprise to many of us when the National Gem Testing Center of China sent their own expedition to the claimed mine location and found a warehouse full of artificially diffused feldspar at the site. They also reported they found no geologic evidence to support any feldspar deposits being present at the location, as claimed by the Jewelry Television / Richard W. Hughes expedition as the source for Tibet andesine.
To this day, neither Richard W. Hughes or the GIA have admitted to the hoax, and neither have been held responsible for their part in this multi-million dollar fiasco.
At left is a photograph from our IIJA research. This is the first photographic evidence that proved the artificial diffusion of the hoax Tibet andesine material.
You can read the report from the National Gem Testing Center of China at the link at left. In this case, after decades of hard work to develop and successfully market Oregon Sunstone, dark forces of the industry tried to steal away the market of the Oregon Sunstone miners by creating a Sudden Appearance Syndrome of Tibet andesine.
But wait! There’s more!
Mozambique “Paraiba-Like” Tourmaline
One of the most heinous examples of Sudden Appearance Syndrome is: Mozambique “Paraiba-Like” Tourmaline. This one was (and is) particularly damaging because this one has the help not only of the GIA but the entire Lab Manual Harmonization Committee who to this day refuse to look at our scientific evidence that proved the issue.
True Paraiba Tourmaline is a copper-bearing tourmaline that is found in the Rio Grande do Norte region. The name “Paraiba” is the name of a nearby state of Brazil, and the name is famous for copper-bearing tourmalines found only in that region. After many years of work to produce the tourmaline and create a market awareness of the uniqueness of the gemstone, the Sudden Appearance Syndrome occurred with a sudden and inexplicable discovery of copper-bearing tourmaline from Mozambique that was not only abundant but far less in price as the true Paraiba Tourmaline. And again, problems immediately arose.
In this case, the IIJA office undertook extensive gathering of authentic Paraiba Tourmaline specimens from mine owner David Sherman and commissioned independent scientific testing of the claimed Mozambique “Paraiba-Like” Tourmaline and found prima facie evidence of treatments.
This scientific evidence was presented both in seminars and this newsletter with no response from the LMHC or the GIA. These organizations apparently did not want to confront the truth of the issue. Then, as was the case with Tibet andesine, the specimen below was located from a seller of the Mozambique tourmaline. Based on independent scientific testing using LA-ICP-MS, XRF and SEM-XRF for elemental analysis. You can read more on this issue in our report: IIJA Color Infused Tourmaline.
The image above left proves the treatment as this Mozambique “Paraiba-Like” Tourmaline shows blocked growth tubes that stopped the uniform artificial color infusion of the treatment material. Prima facie evidence of treatment, and the Sudden Appearance Syndrome of Mozambique “Paraiba-Like” tourmaline.
To this day, the Lab Manual Harmonization Committee continues to hi-jack the name “Paraiba Tourmaline” from the rightful and proper owners of the name: the Brazilian miners of Paraiba Tourmaline around the Rio Grande do Norte region.
If we look carefully through the gemstone industry, we find all sorts of Sudden Appearance Syndrome, and most are backed by big dollar shopping channels who paid the money to get the big name gem labs to back up their chicanery. With no uniform industry standards and no legal oversight of the gem labs, shopping channels or dealers, there is little doubt that Sudden Appearance Syndrome will continue to plague the industry for years to come.
Uniform, enforceable standards and oversight of the major gem labs and television shopping channels.
What a concept! Yes…..I must be dreaming!
Robert James FGA, GG
President, Insurance Institute of Jewelry Appraisal Inc.
a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Education Organization
We welcome your rebuttals, responses or comments h